WASHINGTON D.C. -- Farhan Zaidi isn't often on the road for the Giants' longer trips, but he popped into Nationals Park this weekend to get a firsthand look at his roster, which could prove vital with the trade deadline a week away.
Two years ago, Zaidi watched his group and decided to push his chips to the center of the table. He acquired Kris Bryant, adding a marquee bat to a lineup that already had Buster Posey and Brandon Belt, along with Brandon Crawford performing at an MVP level.
Here in 2023, Zaidi all of a sudden has a roster that looks in need of multiple Kris Bryants, along with a lot, lot more.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Bay Area and California sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
The Giants lost 6-1 on their final day in Washington D.C., falling for a fifth straight game and becoming the first team since June of 2021 to get swept by the Nationals. They scored just five runs in the series, and the starting pitching wasn't any better.
Logan Webb will be fine after Saturday's blowup, but the Giants were left with further questions about how to handle Alex Wood -- who has gone back and forth between starting and relieving -- and Anthony DeSclafani, who made his first relief appearance as a Giant on Sunday and allowed two inherited runners to score before giving up four of his own.
Even if the starters had performed well, though, this would have been a rocky weekend. The lineup managed just 16 hits over 27 innings and went 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position. On Sunday, for the fourth time in the last 11 games, the Giants scored exactly one run.
As he has done often, and did throughout this weekend, manager Gabe Kapler said the Giants need to remain calm.
San Francisco Giants
"Don't press at all. All good teams, all good offenses, go through challenging times," Kapler said. "This is another one. We've gone through several of them this year and come out on the other side, both on the offensive side and also on the general team side.
We've had a couple of losing streaks in there, we've also had a couple of winning streaks in there.
"I have nothing but confidence in this group. Again, be nice and even through a downtime, just like we're nice and even through an up time."
Kapler pointed out that the Giants have hit into bad luck lately, and there is some merit to that. They're last in the Majors in Batting Average on Balls in Play this month, but at the same time, nobody brings up BABIP or luck when the balls are finding holes, as they were in June when the Giants ranked fifth in the stat.
BABIP also is dependent on actually putting the ball in play, and a team that leads the NL in strikeouts had a couple of big ones on Sunday. With two runners in scoring position and the Giants down by just three on Sunday, Mike Yastrzemski swung through an elevated fastball and David Villar took an inside slider that was framed into strike three.
On Sunday, both were part of a bottom half of the lineup that has struggled mightily in recent weeks while relying mostly on rookies who are taking their lumps at the big league level. If the Giants are to add over the next week, an obvious move seems to be getting a more experienced bat or two in the mix, lessening the reliance on players who still are developing.
In the meantime, this is the mix.
Brandon Crawford will be back on Friday and Thairo Estrada should return at some point in early August. Mitch Haniger will return in September, but if the Giants don't add significant pieces, the solutions will have to come from inside the clubhouse at a time when the Giants have already called up just about all of their most advanced prospects.
Kapler is confident the group will turn it around, and while the offensive performance was ugly this weekend, he did find a reason for optimism. Joc Pederson had gone over a month without a homer when the Giants touched down in D.C., but he hit one on Friday and another on Sunday, providing more than half of the runs the Giants scored in this series on two swings.
Kapler feels Pederson is ready to turn a corner. Now he just needs others to join in.
"Joc is a really good example of how quickly it can turn and why we don't get worried or concerned when these really good hitters like Yaz don't get hits for a while, because we know that on the other end, what Joc is doing right now is exactly what Yaz is going to be doing, it's exactly what Michael Conforto is going to be doing," Kapler said. "Austin Slater drives that ball to center field today and comes away with nothing, but we've also seen him crush a ball in the hole on the ground and it gets through. This is so typical of the ups and downs of baseball. It's so typical to see Joc come out on the other side, hit some home runs and have some great at-bats.
"This is it. This is a Major League Baseball season."